Lesson Plan

Defining Freedom

The Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Confederate states. The Thirteenth Amendment banned slavery in the United States. However, neither document defined freedom. The second lesson in the Reconstruction Era series examines the debate over the definition of freedom and looks at the attempts of the Freedmen's Bureau to provide assistance to former slaves and to establish the protocols for the new social order.

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Instructional Ideas
  • For homework, ask class members to read and annotate the entire Emancipation Proclamation
  • Pause the video frequently to permit viewers to respond to prompts on the worksheet, ask questions, and clarify understanding
Classroom Considerations
  • The second in a series of seven video-based web lessons about the Reconstruction Era
  • The lessons are designed to be taught in order
  • The 14-minute video comes with a warning that it contains images that may not be suitable for young audiences; therefore, preview the video to determine if appropriate for your classes
  • A Think, Pair, Share activity asks learners to make a personal connection to the topic of freedom
  • The packet includes primary source readings
  • None